Middle School Football Coaching Routines

Practice can help turnovers

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The faster your defense is at getting the ball back into the offensives hands the more likely you are to win a game. The fastest way to gain possession of the ball is to force an offensive player to fumble the football. Practice dislodging the football on the field in pairs of players. As the offender runs ahead of the defender, have the defender bring his clenched hands up quickly, and forcefully, as he aims his hand at offenders football. Practice these movements slowly to start muscle memory and to correct bad habits.

Ball security: The Gauntlet Drill

Ball security, preventing fumbles and turnovers is perhaps the most important skill the offensive team can have. This of course is even more important for wide receivers and running backs as they handle the ball more than most. One drill that has been used several times to improve ball security is called the gauntlet drill. The point to the gauntlet drill is to have a player run through several opponents that try to dislodge the football. A coach can set up short fast runs or longer relays with several obstacles and defenders prying at the ball. Make sure to take the drill slow at first, and to also have the ball carrier hold the ball in several differing positions.

Conditioning: Five dot jump

Conditioning drills are effective in training and helping athletes be strong and reactive. This drills intention is to help quickness and accuracy on the field which will reduce errors and increase the chances of great plays. In order to execute the drill you will need a place with five dots, either marked on the grass or on a mat, forming an x shape much like the dots for the number five side of dice.

The athlete starts at the edge of the mat placing their feet on two of the outer dots and proceeds to jump with feet together on the center spot and then out again quickly to the outer dots similar to a simple hop scotch motion. The second phase is having the player touch each of the dots with only one foot, and then switch to the other foot. After this, the player will touch all of the dots with both feet together. The end step is similar to the first jumping jack step except that this time the player will turn 180 degrees after jumping on the two dots. Players will need to increase their speed and accuracy to be effective with this drill.

Strength and conditioning: Up Downs

The popular conditioning drill known as up downs is a very effective way to increase cardiovascular activity and endurance. This drill consists of having players run in place as fast and as hard as they can. From time to time the coach will signal to the players, by whistle or a command, to get down meaning that they drop down do a push up and get back up as quickly as possible to run again. This drill is an excellent workout and should be worked in slowly at first and then increased in intensity and length over time.